Can you get a great guard dog without it being purebred? Do hybrid dogs with a reputation for aggression make good family dogs?
If you have never seen an Akita Rottweiler mix, it is a majestic sight. It is a solidly built compact dog with high-set ears that fold near the tips, a furrowed brow, dense fur, and a full, curled tail.
The cross is dark in color with rust points and eyes wide apart and intelligent looking. You will notice the dog’s intensity on your first impression and can expect such a mix to be a good guard dog, loyal to and protective of family members, and an excellent working canine?
We analyze the Rottweiler and Akita to try to gain insight into the possibilities of the mix. Luckily there are examples.
You can use a table as a general comparison of parent breeds
Akita vs. Rottweiler
|History||8,000 years||nearly 2,000 years|
|Purpose||Hunting, guarding, fighting||Driving cattle, guarding, military|
|AKC||Working 1972||Working 1931|
|Size||24-28 inches tall, 85-130 lbs||22-27 inches tall, 95-130 lbs|
|Colors||Red, Pinto, brindle, fawn, black, white||Black with rust points|
|Disposition||Loyal, calm, alert, affectionate, fearless||Loyal, calm, watchful, affectionate, bold|
|Trainability||Moderate||Easy with experience|
|Exercise||variable 40-100 min/day||2 hrs/day|
|Good with kids||Familiar yes||Protective|
|Other dogs||Aggressive, breed-specific||Aggressive, same-sex specific|
|Strangers||Suspicious, polite||Suspicious can be friendly|
|Good with novice owners||No||No|
|Prey drive||High – hunting||Modified high – herding|
|Coat||Dense dual||Medium-long dual, smooth|
|Affectionate||High with family||High with family|
|Life expectancy||10-15 yrs||8-10 yrs|
|Health||Hip & elbow dysplasia, autoimmune skin, GDV, cancer, hypothyroidism||Hip dysplasia, bone cancer, hypothyroidism, GDV, von Willebrand’s, disc disease|
|Prone to obesity||Moderately low||Moderate|
|Calories required||1900-2250 per day||1850-2200 per day|
Two ancient breeds had very different paths
The Rottweiler and Akita seem to give credence to one theory about canine domestication evolving in different areas of the world simultaneously.
Although scientists do not consider the Rottweiler one of the basal breeds, its ancestors likely existed before 75 AD when Roman legions moved with their herds across Europe. Specifically, they crossed the Alps with their herds of cattle and drover herding dogs into Germany.
When the Germans drove the legions out of a small town called Rottweil around 200 AD, the final development of the Rottweiler began.
Rottweilers continued to drive cattle and also pulled carts of butchered meats and guarded livestock, human tenders, and property against rustlers and common thieves.
They crossed with local dogs and developed a broader head, larger frame, and a better-developed guarding instinct that targeted more than four-legged predators.
In the 1850s efforts began to save a dwindling breed as railroads replaced them for transporting cattle. They found a new purpose with the police and military. Acknowledgment of the Rottweiler’s versatility persisted beyond World War I.
Rotties arrived via German immigrants to the US around the 1920s and joined the AKC in 1931. Their popularity took off after World War II.
The Akita is a Southeastern Asian creation and is one of the sixteen basal breeds and among the most ancient of dogs.
Quickly, a basal canid is a product of the earlier splits between wolves and distinct domestic dogs. They had a significant influence on genetics in subsequent breeds.
Akitas represent the third basal branch, and fossils indicate that its Mataki Inu ancestors were present 8,000 years ago.
Originally, the Mataki was a hunting dog, able to take down boars and corner bears. In the 1600s, natives required a larger and more aggressive animal as they developed an interest in dogfighting. There was an infusion, possibly from Great Danes, Japanese Tosas, and Mastiffs.
By the 1700s, the breed developed even further into a guarding dog, tasked with protecting royalty. Akitas soon became a breed solely of the aristocracy.
Glory days ended as they did for most dogs by the beginning of World War I. Desperate dog owners bred their Akitas with German Shepherds to save them from government seizure and destruction.
GSD dogs were of value to the military efforts while all others strained precious food resources. Moreover, military clothesmakers coveted the Akita’s thick fur.
Once the war ended, Japan sought to restore the original Japanese Akita and selectively breed out the fighting dogs and Shepherd crosses. Because of different preferences, two types emerged, the American and Japanese Akitas. The AKC is alone in recognizing only one Akita; Most other registries across numerous countries recognize two different breeds.
The Akita Inu became a national treasure in Japan in 1931. Akitas joined the AKC in 1972, the first two coming to the US as gifts for Helen Keller in 1938.
Is the Rottie-Akita look predictable?
Your crossbreed will most often be a balanced blend of the Rottweiler and Akita because the dogs are more similar than they are different. A few individuals may look more like one of the parents, but you will always be able to see a little of the other breed.
Your dog will be large but compact and balanced. A male will be about 25 to 27 inches tall and weigh 115 to 130 pounds while a female will be noticeably smaller at 24 inches tall and 95 to 120 pounds.
Your dog’s head will be broad and slightly wedge-shaped with a medium-short muzzle. His eyes will be wide-set, medium-sized, and brown in color.
The ears may be upright and medium-sized but most likely will be set high and fold a quarter of the way down from the tips.
You may notice the ears orient a little more forward than would be usual for most dogs. This in combination with a slightly furrowed brow gives the mix an exceptionally alert expression.
Your dog will show strength through a medium-thick neck, broad deep chest, short span from ribs to hips, level back, long sloping shoulders, and powerful hindquarters.
He will be a strong snd fast runner with an efficient and purposeful trot. His gait will likely show the effortless glide of the spitz with a slight springiness.
Rottweiler Akitas carry their full-bodied tails in a complete circle they hold against their backs. Your pup will most probably be black and tan with a dark face because the melanistic mask of the Akita is a dominant trait. You may also see fawn and brindle dogs as these coat colors are dominant to black and tan.
A Rottie-Akita’s temperament is not a complete mystery.
The more similar parents are to each other in disposition, the more predictable the temperaments of the puppies will be. You may get a rare dog that is a docile pushover or a nervous mess.
Most dogs will be bold, calm, and fearless. They are affectionate and protective with the family. Highly intelligent, your pet will likely show some of the independent willfulness of the Akita.
Will she be a good guard dog?
Your hybrid will be very protective and a good guard dog without formal education.
With or without training, your hybrid will be an intimidating force. She will likely possess strong natural guarding instincts and will need rigorous socialization not to give in to aggressive tendencies.
Your Rottie-Akita will likely be highly suspicious of strangers, but a social dog is polite and allows physical displays of affection after a suitable introduction. A Rottweiler may take her cue from you about your guests, but Akitas sometimes make their own judgments. You should not trust your mix alone with a stranger.
Are other dogs a good idea?
Occasionally, all the socialization in the world cannot alter how your dog will react to others. Many dogs of this mix will likely be dog aggressive.
Neutered dogs may be better, but you always have to gauge your dog’s personality carefully. Large dogs often do not develop aggressiveness until the age of 12 months to two years.
Socialization helps tremendously, but most Akita Rottweilers will always tend to be territorial against other dogs. The mix is better with dogs he grows up with. Never leave your pet with a smaller dog unsupervised.
Will she be good with kids?
Rottweilers and Akitas both tend to be amenable around children if they know the kids. The mix is much more unpredictable around unfamiliar young ones, not receptive to teasing or confusing body language. Even with your own children, always supervise them with your dog.
Older youths over the age of 10 years do better with the mix as they comprehend proper dog etiquette more thoroughly. Furthermore, kids this size can be around a larger dog with less risk of an accidental injury.
Will your dog adapt well to apartment living?
Apartment living is a complex issue for dogs. With the advent of spacious luxury apartments and two-story condominiums, most dogs can adapt fine as long as they get sufficient exercise.
Then comes the question of city living where you encounter multiple people daily. In such cases, your dog has to have impeccable manners.
Both Akitas and Rottweilers can adjust to living in the city if they have good social skills, training, and plenty of mental stimulation as well as physical activities.
Finally, you may run across breed-specific restrictions. While several states are making breed discrimination illegal, be aware that many insurance companies and even locales ban or restrict guard-type dogs. If there are such lists, Akitas and Rottweilers both will be on there as well as their potential crosses.
Some institutions allow your dog to engage in temperament screenings that would enable her to bypass a blanket breed ban.
Again, this underscores the importance of socializing your pet and ensuring she has good behavior around people and other animals.
Note, this does not mean she will be friendly with strangers in your home or other animals in a dog park setting off-leash. You should be able to walk her in your neighborhood without her being a menace.
How intelligent are Rottie Akitas?
Akitas and Rottweilers are both from working stock, but their relationships with their handlers were quite different.
Akitas are more independent as people sought a fierce combatant whether in hunting or fighting.
They have a more direct familial line with wolves. Rotties worked in closer cooperation with their handlers and had to be quite social.
It would have been counterproductive for a Rottweiler to attack other merchants or livestock at the market.
Your dog will likely be a various mixture between easy to train and possessing an independent streak that comes across as stubbornness or a tendency to weigh the value of obeying you.
That being said your mix is very likely to be of above-average working intelligence ranking in the high 20s, similar to a Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
Your dog’s training will have a variety of challenges and you should not be hesitant if you feel a need to hire professional help.
Your dog can inherit dominant behavior and pushiness from either parent as well as size and strength that overwhelm many people, especially novice owners.
Self-assurance is the key to preventing your dog from assuming he is in charge. On the other hand, force or other negative training methods can result in rebellion, resistance, or anxiety in your pet.
What are your dog’s care needs?
Akita-Rottweilers are large dogs that demand quite a bit of commitment.
How much should you exercise your dog?
Your dog will require 90 to 120 minutes of daily exercise. Limit growing puppies until they are about 12 to 15 months.
Puppies under six months old, for example, should not run for longer than 30 minutes at a time.
Use the general rule of five minutes of strenuous activity per month of age for growing juveniles. Socialization should be a major focus of all sessions as well as training.
As an adult, your dog needs about 40% of his activities to have high intensity, and the rest can be a mix of light exercises and training. Certain activities are good for the mix and engage body and mind simultaneously.
What about grooming and shedding
Your dog will likely have a thick short to medium-length double coat. Shedding will be moderate year-round with two major events of replacing the undercoat in spring and all.
You will need to brush your dog at least twice a week and bathe in a mild shampoo every six to eight weeks.
Trim claws every month and a half. Watch your dog’s skin for sensitivity, taking heed of bathing frequency and harshness of detergents. Accustom your mix at a young age to dental hygiene, brushing her teeth at least weekly.
Will your dog be healthy?
Your dog will probably live an average of 12 to 15 years. She will tend to be a healthy dog, but there are a few issues to watch for.
- Hip dysplasia
- Bloat or GDV – Used interchangeably, bloat is technically stomached swelling while GDV is the entire process of distension and subsequent twisting; Prevalent in large deep-chested breeds and Dachshunds
- Hypothyroid- Thyroid hormone levels low; Often requires supplementation
- Pemphigus foliaceous – Autoimmune skin disease; Scaly patchy skin
- VKH or uveodermatologic syndrome – Affects pigment inside the eye or the skin
- Von Willebrand’s – A clotting disorder that can lead to extensive bleeding from a surgery, nail trims, or other procedures
How do you feed a Rottie mix?
There will not be many feeding variances with the Akita-Rottie mix in amounts of food because the breeds are similar in size and metabolism.
An active dog around 100 pounds should get 2000 to 2200 calories a day which will work out to approximately five to eight cups. Because of their risk for bloat, you should feed your dog his portion in at least two separate meals.
This is an excellent example of the Rottweiler-Akita mix on several levels. It shows a mix that more resembles its Akita parent with upright ears, the profile of the head, and tail.
However, when the dog looks towards the camera, you can see a witness in the face characteristic of the REottweiler as is the black and tan color and a particular solidness in the body.
Also, the coat is thinner than a purebred Akita’s would be. The other noteworthy observation is how this dog reacts like any other to appropriate training and socialization.
This pup is attentive to its handler and not exhibiting any aggressiveness to anything in his environment.